DIY Water/Sand Table Hack from IKEA Askholmen Flower Box

As a parent, you may find yourself wondering, “Just how many gigantic, hideous plastic items must I buy my child?”

The answer, of course, is “an infinite amount.”

After looking through many possible outdoor water/sand tables for my toddler, each seemingly more grotesque than the last, I decided to go to the IKEA website to brainstorm possible alternatives to having a giant, sand-filled plastic crab in my backyard. I love the IKEA website. It’s where you can go to explore all the possibilities of IKEA without actually setting foot into an IKEA! They even let you look-up aisle/bin numbers for items at your local store, as if to say, “Let us help you, poor soul, to get the hell out of our physical store as quickly as possible.”

I wanted something that was suitable for outdoor use, not plastic, not ugly, under $50, and not too tall for a toddler. Ideally, I wanted something that I could repurpose after the kids outgrew it. After perusing the garden section, I found the exact perfect thing: BEHOLD! The Askholmen Flower Box.

The Askholmen met all my criteria, and then some. It was the perfect size: 24″ long x 15″ wide x 15″ high, not at all hideous (I actually think it looks great), and, at $30, a total steal. Best of all, we could easily repurpose it as a planter after its days as a water table were done.

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It’s also the world’s easiest hack. Here’s what you need:

  • Askholmen Flower Box
  • Plastic bin(s) to hold sand/water (I used a variety of bins from the Container Store)
  • 2 pavers or bricks (optional)
  • 12″ x 20″ board (optional; size is approximate)

First, assemble the flower box according to the instructions.

Next, decide how tall you want the table to be. If you have a young toddler, you probably want to keep the height of the table at 15″ or so. In that case, you can use bricks and a board to build up a little platform inside the flower box, and set your plastic bins on top of the platform. I like using plastic bins with lids so you can keep your sand covered when it’s not in use.

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For older toddlers, it’s even simpler. You can just move the interior slats from the bottom of the planter to the top, and set a plastic bin on it like a little table. Or, if your child is like mine, just give them a watering can and a plastic cup, and let them go to town.

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Hope this hack works for you!

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